Adventures World Peace - Part 1

Bosnia, Part 1: Understanding The Clues

September 2, 2016,

La version française est en cours de traduction. Merci de votre patience. 

This morning, we just crossed the border from Croatia into Bosnia. Things are different here. I notice abandoned houses here and there. Churches too. When I am traveling, I’m always looking for cues, trying to understand what happened AND what’s going on now. Really going on now, not the story I’m fed.

After about fifty houses, I realize they invariably have four thick stone walls still standing, but no roof, no windows, no inside walls. It dawns on me: those are not old and abandoned: they were destroyed during the Bosnian War. They are left standing. A testimony to the massacres, to the endless horrors. A war waged on civilians. We have been doing a huge amount of painful research these past few days, and suddenly we find ourselves riding through the history we both have been having nightmares about.

DSC_3496[w]I have a huge lump in my throat. With all the years I have spent creating artwork about genocides, wars and refugees, I have never witnessed any of it directly. I have never been in a country where what is left from the devastation of war is still visible, untouched. Silent witnesses. Based on what I read, I make up some stories: people left in a hurry. The ones able to come back built a new house practically touching the destroyed one. It takes money to remove a house. One thing people do not have here is money. They may want to keep the ruins as a reminder. Never again. And again: never again.

DSC_3485[w]The further south we travel, the closer the destroyed houses are to each other. Until finally I see what makes me fall apart all the way.

I stop. I get off. I don’t remember looking for a safe place to pull over. I’m in a daze.

DSC_3484[w]Ten, fifteen houses together. A village. A village of destroyed houses. As I’m standing there, I hear children playing, laughing. They are running. There is a ball. I immediately worry: one could run after the ball all the way to the road where there are cars. I see a woman walking to her neighbor to ask for a cup of sugar. I feel the breeze of a warm summer evening when the entire village gets together to roast a goat and celebrate. I see old people resting in the shade. I see young women bringing large platters of food.

DSC_3477[w]I come back. Minutes have gone by. Nothing has moved.

Life here has long been gone.

I’m sobbing. DSC_3475[w]

If you enjoyed this post and would like to become a part of the worldwide community I am building, you can join a long list of supporters and purchase a piece of art. Currently, I have raised $11,047.00 both through private fundraising and my Indiegogo campaign. A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have chosen to support my project and “come with me!” 

You Might Also Want To Read


Croatia, Part 5: Following Croatia’s Adriatic Coastline

August 30, 2016
02. B.Me!3458[w]

CROATIA, PART 2: A Special meeting (Part 2/3)

August 26, 2016
20160506-DH-Ballard NewsTribune

Ballard NewsTribune article

May 6, 2016

1 Comment

  • Reply Anna McKee September 2, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Oh Dionne, your words are so powerful, I felt that I was almost there with you – wile realizing that what you are expressing is the power of place to transmit its history. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • Leave a Reply